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Found 103 results

  1. A very good back & forth sprint w/ Dragon showing good fire & Williams playing the role of the veteran-being-taken-to-the-limit very well. ***1/2
  2. Very good opener, and the first match of the Round Robin Challenge between Daniels, Dragon & Low Ki. The opening exchanges are just perfunctory, feeling-out sequences. Nothing particularly memorable, but nothing bad. The match becomes more compelling once Daniels starts isolating the neck of Dragon. The commentary is selling how huge a deal this is since Daniels' finisher is neck-based. Dragon does an excellent job selling the neck, and there's multiple moments in the match where he's unable to create offense because of the neck. Curiously enough, he decides to hit a diving headbutt, but besides that oversight he was very good at incorporating the injured neck into the story of the match. Dragon fails to hold the bridge during the Cattle Mutilation because of the neck & Daniels reverses it into a Crossface for the submission victory. Daniels never even teases the Angel's Wings, but he wrenches viciously on the neck of Dragon in that Crossface, so that ruled. They understandably don't go all-out since both are wrestling again this evening, but both guys worked hard and produced a good, well-paced match. Rating: ***½
  3. I have never heard anyone talk about this match, but goddamn it's absolutely amazing. The early stages see Danielson annoy Walter greatly; he pretty much outclasses him in their grappling exchanges, but he does it while talking shit & delivering some cheapshots to the big lad. Walter gets more & more pissed, but as he starts to get some offense going, Danielson attacks his knee. He targets it like an assassin throughout the match - all the while talking shit & breaking rules, too. Walter gets some brief comebacks as the match goes - even unleashing some of those brutal chops he is now famous for, but ultimately Danielson's in ring generalship is too much; he just cuts off every comeback Walter gets very quickly. Amazing stuff. Terrific psychology & an absolutely great performance by Dragon. Kind of a gem, because as I said, I've never heard ANYONE talk about it. ****1/2
  4. I took a small break from my New Japan 1988 project to cherry pick a few Golden Era Ring of Honor matches that I had been wanting to see. The theme I guess would be Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson but, KENTA is in two of the three matches. So its really Joe, Danielson plus KENTA matches that I wanted to see AND are free on ROH's Youtube channel. I've had these bookmarked for months and been waiting to see for more than a decade. There's no time like the present to check these out! Samoa Joe vs Bryan Danielson (ROH Title, Midnight Express Reunion 2004): I've seen their 2003 match and heard that this was their best. It is considered a classic and in 2004 with the storyline of Joe post Punk encounter #1, I can see giving it that status. I'm not going to take that away in honesty because, I'm sure there are wrinkles that I've missed in 2020. That being said, I thought as a stand alone title fight this was very good (and perhaps great). I think the story was Dragon trying to force Joe to go long (like Punk had) but, also try to systematically dismantle the champ. That and Danielson post NJPW tour could hit with the hardest so, Joe didn't stand a chance. However, the Samoan Submission machine was in Terminator mode not only eating what Danielson was throwing but, dishing out some sickening blows himself and possession "the choke" or Coquina Clutch as TNA would brand it, I've read comparisons to 90's AJPW and I can see that as there were few slams and suplexes compared to strikes and submissions. Where this differs is the organization department. Most notably Joe's need to fit in the Ole kicks 2/3rds of the way in. This is the point where my excitement went off track. Each guy was desperate to close the fight and now Joe finds it necessary to do his showboat/insult move? He should have just faked it out and just chest kicked Danielson or something more visceral. And that's the thing... the match was at a gut level violent...like Tsuruta vs Tenryu then, Joe (and I don't really blame him in '04) inserts an Indy fan service move. A bit of wind went out of my sails. My other quibble is Danielson's attack psychology. The awful 2004 announcers (whom I muted on the 2nd watch) even acknowledge the change in gameplan. This is so heavy handed on their part frankly...they're explaining rather than letting the wrestler do so with their actions. Anyhow, I would have preferred a Liger-like focus from Bryan on Joe's leg or neck early on then settle into the middle of the match only to call-back to that to set up the ending portion...even if it would not lead to the finish. Instead, it doesn't seem like he can commit to a single plan of focus and neither can Joe from a selling standpoint. So, the story of the challenger doesn't come across as strongly as it should have, Those things would have made this an all time classic in my eyes...I think this was the time where Gabe S. was really pushing the long matches = great match ideology for ROH. The above flaws would have been less bothersome if this was 5 -10 minutes shorter. Not that it NEEDED to be but, they story would have been tighter and the earlier portion would have look less like time-filler. Nevertheless, I watched the damn thing twice in two days and enjoyed it both times so, I gotta recommend watching this. Samoa Joe vs KENTA vs Bryan Danielson (In Your Face 2006): This is another match that I'd been wanting to see for a decade plus. I'd seen clips from the ROH Live Wire from another DVD and thought this looked awesome but, perhaps too good to be true. I was wrong. This was precisely the match I'd hoped it would be. A high intensity, ultra stiff action packed 3 way match during their peak.Honestly, 2006 was the peak of their peak and this was special. A classic match that doesn't go too long or get too cute. Perhaps an all time classic if I'm going to be honest with myself. The shorter match length (20+ minutes I think) kept everything mean and showing how much Joe & Bryan had improved in just over a year...and ROH for that matter. Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA vs Samoa Joe & Bryan Danielson (Best In the World 2006): I watched this bout right after the above and if you have the luxury, I suggest you do the same. It plays off of (and in real time sets-up) the heat between Joe & KENTA beautifully. Not only that but, we have 4 of the best wrestlers in 2006 facing off and this is probably the closest to a AJPW Big 4 match as ROH did. Some have given this **** but, that's the bare minimum in my view. This match deviated from the balls to the wall fest that many were hoping for and instead provided all kinds of build ups and cool-downs that only master wrestlers can do. And I'm not talking about kickouts but, they achieved this by scaling up the intensity and urgency through body language, speeds, how hard they through their strikes, when they chose to tag, etc. It was a thing of beauty and like all true classics, I could have watched this all night. Even when a error was made, it was forgiven and forgotten as a miss rather than a mistake. If you are a fan of these guys and this style, check this out. You may not think as highly of it as me but, you will have fun. That goes for all of the above! Three remarkable matches available for free on ROH's 'tube page. I'd like to get the DVDs of the ones featuring the NOAH guys since I'm old school but, if not I'm stoked that I saw them. Thanks for reading! We'll get back to NJPW 1988 next week for sure!
  5. This was going pretty good and then this of course being Memphis, had to be overbooked and have ref. bump and interference despite it being about 7 minutes long. Also King pretty much blew away the previous legwork and just stormed through it ignoring it. Despite starting out good, this took a turn for the worse and ended up not being that good. Forgettable.
  6. First half of this was pretty great as Danielson would torture Evans with ultra tight basic holds while Evans would use his freak athleticism and flexibility to escape and hit spin kicks. Danielson can play Fuchi extremely well as he did both subtle things like digging his elbow into the leg aswell as stuff that looks grossly painful such as twisting at the chin, almost making the back of Evans head touch the back of his thigh etc. Finishing stretch wasn't as great as Evans looked a little sloppy while both guys transitioned from offense a little too easily. All time great finish though. I'd wager Evans performance here was better than pretty much anything Manami Toyota has ever done as he showed greater flexibility, better timed comebacks, more spectacular offense etc.
  7. Bryan Danielson defends the ROH World Title Right now, this is in my all time Top 50. One of the most overlooked matches in US indie wrestling history. Heel masterclass by Bryan and a focused Homicide performance, which makes his character moment at the end more rewarding. Excellent dueling arm work and consistent selling from both. Great continuity with the past when it comes to previous Bryan title defenses and the finish has 1/20/97 vibes to it. ****5/8
  8. Nigel McGuinness defends the ROH World Title from the Manhattan Center in New York City. Talk about it here.
  9. This is a project that I've wanted to start for some time now but, I couldn't find the right way to get going. Here's how it starts: Bryan Danielson vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato (UWAI 12/03/06): I have to be honest, I've never heard of UWAI but, the person hosting it on the 'tube is the same person who has all of the Big Mouth Loud shows for viewing. So, I have to assume that it's an 'offshoot' (using that term loosely) of BML. Anyhow, I really recommend this match to anyone who's only seen 'Daniel Bryan.'He just stretches the hell out of Hayato here. 10 minutes of that is time well spent! OK so this match got me interested in Jr. Hayato. I'd heard some good things about him earlier this decade but, I never really was that interested at the time. But, this match showed me the type of bout he preferred despite being a Michinoku Pro guy. SO, it looks like he participated in the 2010 Best of the Super Jrs. league and welp! that's all I needed to pick up the project that I'd put off for months - early 2010's NJPW Jrs. Why not!? I figure I've been looking at ROH for a puro blog so, let's keep it real, like the kids say! This will probably be a multi-part thing despite my best efforts to keep things neat and tidy. I just keep finding more and more interesting little matches hosted by NJPW's Youtube channel. I am not going to be a complettionist so, if you end up digging these match-ups and find one that I missed, by all means share it in the comments! Just to give you a sample of who were talking about: Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, La Sombra (Andrade "Cien" Almas), Fujita "Jr." Hayato (duh!), Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), Tama Tonga, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshi-hashi - Damn! From the 06/01/10 show: Yoshihashi (before YOSHI-HASHI) vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato: A very good, intense bout. Jr. looked like a leg kicking Terminator. Yoshihashi was good as well but, Jr.'s technique was superior. The finish really drove that home. Some might not love the finish but, I certainly did. It looked like a MMA finish where the ref has to call the guy off. Hells yeah! Koji Kanemoto vs Kenny Omega: A good match where Omega's job was about selling rather than acting all strong and shit. Koji went for the ankle lock here to shut down the Canadian. Ryusuke Taguchi vs Tama Tonga: Tonga is fully doing the Tongan thing here but, you know it works! He's like the powerhouse of the tournament and this match shows that versus Taguchi's technical prowess. If all you've seen is goofy Taguchi then, I implore you to check this version of the dude out. Sure, he's the Funky Weaopn but, the emphasis is on weapon. JIP match, 6 minutes. Jushin Thunder Liger vs Gedo: I love it when people get legitimately butt hurt about others putting Thunder in quotations. Who gives a shit at this point if people think its a nickname or part of some defunct anime from 30 years ago (holy crizza I'm old)? I digress! Gedo and JT Liger put on that "simple but good" match that you know they could (would?). And by gosh, it works! Nothing like seeing a babyface get back at a heel! 11 minutes. Kota Ibushi vs La Sombra: JIP (why? I have no idea!), but this is a blast of a spot match. Both guys were putting on a show for the live audience - springboard moves, dives, top rope flips, just a ton of fun! A very nice one camera-no commentary show! Like CHAOS vs NJ from 2010, this is looking to be highly enjoyable BUT...wait, what's that? We're not done yet! One more match... From 06/02/10: Kenny Omega vs Fujita "Jr." Hayato: This was a intense sprint battle. A fantastic Day 2 match for the Super Jrs. league. It was extremely stiff with great suplexes and I loved the heck outta of it. NJPW gatekeeps a lot of their stuff because of their 'network' but, this puppy is floating out there for free on their Youtube channel. If you're a cheap ass like me, and you're reading this becuase you're genuinely interested - watch this bout. It's around the 10-12 minute mark and, even if you don't care for the newer style, this is at the very least a very good popcorn - fireworks Jr. match that'll make you smile and/or cringe. Its not a classic but, dang it is a blast! So, I hope you enjoyed reading! More match ups from the 2010 Super Jrs. including a real winner in Devitt vs Gedo *Spoiler* Gedo drops some Engrish F-bombs Thanks!
  10. It's the birth of indy dream match wrestling baby. Joe has come back from japan and has yoinked all kinds of cool things from the legends while Danielson is starting to come into his own. The opening hold for hold trading isn't anything brilliant but still feels inventive by 2019 US indy wrestling standards. There is guard work and they work for cross armbreakers but also snug cravates. When Danielson tries to get cute and throw shots Joe would make him pay dearly with a few crossfaces of his own. This was generally pretty hard hitting and they do a good job building to the big spots. This was slightly before they were really starting to put it all together, Joe wasn't quite the menacing badass, but he would really lay into Bryan with kicks, slam him hard to counter a basic headlock etc. On the other hand he would also bump for a feeble Bryan shoulderblock which is just weird. Bryan was pretty fun also hitting a big enzugiri and suicide dive. The one weak part were his head kicks as there seemed to be a lot of light there. Finish was all kinds of fun.
  11. This a pretty neat sub 5 minute match that was mostly just getting Spanky and American Dragon who are not the Kliq 2000 over. Nothing really memorable, but this just proves how far Spanky and Dragon have come from the earlier stuff from TWA in January.
  12. This was supposed to be a southern tag team title defense from the Triad which is Seven and Trash against the Kliq 2000, but the Triad got assaulted backstage by the Dupps and thus injured Trash who couldnt make it to the ring and Seven made it to the ring with injured ribs. The match itself is Spanky and Dragon working on top and Seven mostly just selling the rib injury he obtained at the hands of the Dupps backstage. Theres not really much to see here aside from seeing Spanky and Dragons continuous development.
  13. This was not very good... I thought Dragon and Spanky working underneath vs. much bigger guys with a small guy vs. big guy dynamic would be awesome, but its not. Their timing was off and a lot of their spots looked very poorly executed. Spanky and Jack I believe even managed to mess up Spankys hop Kidman faceplant powerbomb counter spot and it looked really weak. In the finishing stretch there was some more poorly timed spots that looked really bad. Skippable.
  14. This was pretty awesome, albeit really short. All 6 guys looked really good here I thought. They did a perfect job of maximazing the little time they were given and put on the best possible 6 man tag you can possibly put on in a 5 minute time span. The finish was excellent as chaos shortly broke out and King pulled out a win by pinning Spanky setting up a potential light heavyweight title match between them moving forward. I really wish these guys could have gotten at least 10 - 15 minutes more as I feel they could have put on something special.
  15. This was good for what it was action packed 3 minute TV tag match. Again they didnt get much time to put on something together properly, but they did the best they could with the limited amount of time they got.
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